Careers in Mathematics
The study of mathematics can lead to a variety of exciting professional careers. Basic research, engineering, finance, business, and government service are among the opportunities open to those with mathematical training. Moreover, with the increasing importance of basic science and information technology, prospects for careers in the mathematical sciences are very good. Mathematical analysis and computational modeling are important for solving some of the most pressing problems of our time - new energy resources, climate change, risk management, epidemiology, to name a few. We must strive to maintain our technological edge; mathematical skills will be crucial to this effort.
Some more specific business positions include portfolio analysis, design studies, statistical analysis, computer simulation, software design and testing, and other areas of operations research. There are extensive opportunities for mathematics in finance, the actuarial fields, and economic forecasting.
Many laboratories, both government and private, maintain independent research staffs that include mathematicians. Their work often deals with the development of new technology, including research in basic physics and software development, as well as applied mathematics. Numerical simulation, such as weather and climate forecasting, depends heavily on the use of supercomputers.
Practical considerations aside, there is the pleasure of learning, applying, and creating mathematics. Real world issues pose problems that can be studied by formulating and analyzing mathematical models. In some cases applications may lead to new mathematics, and a new branch of the science is born. In other cases abstract theory finds unexpected practical purpose. Working on research problems is exciting; solving difficult problems successfully is, for many, satisfaction enough.